A New Risk for Smokers - Rheumatoid Arthritis

Smoking is well known to be associated with added risks for a number of diseases including emphysema, lung cancer, and coronary artery disease. Now it appears that heavy smokers are also at a markedly increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Research reported in the February 15, 2001 issue of the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases shows further that a family history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a known risk factor for RA, is less common among heavy smokers.

The Study Design and Results

The study team in Liverpool, England analyzed the smoking habits of 239 patients with RA and 239 healthy people. They were also asked if a first or second degree relative had RA.